Since we launched publicly in October 2021, we've been grappling with our relationship with sustainability.

As you know, we're keen on transparency so we thought we’d share an update on where we’re at. 

Our brand values

Conscious of the impact many clothing brands can have on the environment, we are trying to address this through pre-order sales and limited production runs to ensure that each clothing item ordered has a purpose and a life outside of landfill. 

We do our best to champion the cycle to work agenda, and advocate for greener methods of transport. Offering an alternative to head-to-toe lycra, M1LE offers people high quality items that are appropriate for the workplace and on the go.

Outdoor exercise is fantastic for your physical and mental wellbeing – and what a joy to save money on your commute and contribute towards decreasing carbon emissions in the process. 

We encourage people from all walks of life to ride bikes more often through accessible and multi-use wardrobe staples which eliminate the need for multiple outfit changes and shower facilities along the commute. 

Our product offering

We can't escape the fact that our first collection of trousers have been made with 100% virgin polyester – a plastic-based textile which is not great for the environment. We chose virgin polyester because we could guarantee that our textile could be recycled for re-use in the future.

Recycled polyester uses 59% less energy than virgin polyester when produced, but often recycled polyester has to be blended with other fibres (often virgin) to reinforce them, which means that it may be more difficult – and sometimes impossible – to recycle them again.

For our first collection of Women's trousers and the next version of Men's, we've introduced a new fabric blend of 57% recycled polyester with 43% virgin polyester. This is still not perfect, but we believe this is a step in the right direction.

We also invite wearers to return their trousers once they’re finished with them so M1LE can repurpose and recycle them. So far, our recycling initiatives have included producing a limited run of shorts in summer 2022, and beginning to build a jacket from factory off-cuts and recycled trousers. 

Our trousers are coated with a water repellent chemical treatment called DWR C0 80/10 – this specific coating is vegetable-based and PFC-free. It is one of the least 'evil' of general DWR coatings, but we continue to search for a better solution. For comparison, Patagonia uses a C6 DWR coating and have detailed their ‘DWR problem’ here

Beyond our trousers

We use plastic in our packaging and accessories – stickers and Ass Savers specifically. Luckily the Ass Savers can be recycled. Our recent t-shirt collaboration with World Bicycle Relief UK used 100% GOTS accredited cotton and we sent these in compostable mailer bags. 

Our post boxes and compliment cards are made from virgin cardboard which needs improvement, and we use 100% compostable mailer bags for small items. We’re on the hunt for premium eco-friendly solutions across our logistics, and always welcome feedback. 

Our Plan Going Forward

Currently, we are working with a Greenhouse Gas auditing start-up to complete a full GHG audit of our business to date to set achievable and transparent climate goals for M1LE going forward. We’ll post another blog at that stage with an updated action plan. 

We plan to upgrade all textiles and components in our collection to be made from recycled materials entirely by 2024. We also aim to have upgraded our packaging and shipping services by that stage too. 

Future products

After a lot of soul searching, we have reached the conclusion that producing trousers from recycled polyester is, at the very least, saving energy and absorbing plastic waste from landfills / the oceans to be recycled into fibres for our clothing.

While we can’t guarantee that they will be fully recyclable after you’ve worn them, we can instead focus on developing a durable, heavy enough textile that is hardy enough to survive your commute and many years on the go.

We’ll also offer a renew and repair service for all products, which will be managed by a third party provider.  

Finally, we’d also like to remind you that, if you have bought a pair of 100% virgin polyester trousers from us, please do return them when you’re finished with them. We can recycle them and reuse all of the trims for future projects.

If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you: 

March 01, 2023 — Megan McCann